by Ibn Warraq (May 2010)
Brother Tariq: The Doublespeak of Tariq Ramadan
By Caroline Fourest, Foreword by Denis MacShane
New York & London, Encounter Books, 2008
Notes, Index. xv + 262 pp.
Faith, here’s an equivocator that could swear in both the scales against either scale, who committed treason enough for God’s sake, yet could not equivocate to Heaven. Oh, come in, equivocator.
— William Shakespeare Macbeth, II.3.
Francis Tesham, one of the plotters [of the Gunpowder Plot, 1605], was discovered to have a manuscript written by [Father Henry] Garnet, [a Jesuit], entitled A Treatise of Equivocation. It advocated not only giving ambiguous and evasive answers to interrogators but also defended the technique of mental reservation, in which one spoke words that had a misleading or false signification while adding a silent mental supplement that rendered the entire proposition truthful.
— Footnote to William Shakespeare Macbeth, II.3., ed. Jesse M. Lander
In Islam, Taqiyya, and also kitman, is a doctrine of pious fraud or religious dissimulation, derived from Suras such as III.28, whereby Muslims may under certain circumstances openly deceive infidels by feigning friendship or goodwill provided their heart remains true to Islam. Historian Al-Tabari [died 923 C.E] wrote on Sura XVI.108, “If anyone is compelled and professes unbelief with his tongue, while his heart contradicts him, in order to escape his enemies, no blame falls on him, because God takes his servants as their hearts believe.”
— Adapted from The Encyclopaedia of Islam, 2 Edn., and The Al-Qaeda Reader, ed. Raymond Ibrahim
Western Liberals surprised and then alarmed at the presence of Islamic fundamentalists in their midst turned in desperation, in the 1990s, to those Muslims whom they dubbed on flimsy evidence as “Islamic reformers,” or “modernisers,” hoping the latter would have a moderating influence on the disaffected, urban, Muslim youth who refused to integrate into Western society. One such so-called “reformer” is Tariq Ramadan, the Swiss-born academic, grandson of Hassan al-Banna, founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, and someone who has won the confidence of Western intellectuals, the Liberal Media, and even the British Government, who asked him to serve on its task force on preventing Islamic extremism.
But as Caroline Fourest has shown in a superbly documented book of analytical clarity and brilliance that first appeared in French in 2004, and is now translated, and slightly abridged, into English, Ramadan is not to be trusted. He has managed to hoodwink the New York Times, Ian Buruma, Timothy Garton Ash, and other useful idiots, but then again it is not very difficult to fool the latter who do not know their madrassas from their albs. Fourest displays before us Ramadan’s art of duplicity, and dissects with precision the anatomy of his Islamic subterfuges: equivocation, evasiveness, ambiguity, euphemism, rhetorical device of redefinition of words, lies of omission, and brazen lies.
Can we hold the fact that he is the grandson of Hassan al-Banna, a fanatic, and a religious fundamentalist, who wished to impose Islamic totalitarianism on Muslims, and who wished to Islamasize the world, against him? No, not by itself. But a closer look at Ramadan’s laudatory writings on his grandfather reveal that Tariq’s vision is heavily influenced by Hassan al-Banna, and is equally theocratic, and a far cry from the liberal, secular democracy that guarantees the five freedoms, and the equal rights of women, homosexuals, apostates, and all religious and ethnic minorities that we associate with the West, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948. In television interviews, he proudly displays a photograph of his grandfather to emphasize his heritage, “I lay claim to this heritage since, if today I am a thinker, it is because this heritage has inspired me.” He was even more explicit in his interviews with Alain Gresh of the Le Monde diplomatique: “I have studied Hassan al-Banna’s ideas with great care and there is nothing in this heritage that I reject. His relation to God, his spirituality, his mysticism, his personality, as well as his critical reflections on law, politics, society and pluralism, testify to me his qualities of heart and mind….His commitment also is a continuing reason for my respect and admiration.”
But as early as 1963, Manfred Halpern his Politics of Social Change in the Middle East and North Africa, had studied Islamism particularly in Egypt, and had dubbed it “neo-Islamic totalitarianism”:
“The neo-Islamic totalitarian movements are essentially fascist movements. They concentrate on mobilizing passion and violence to enlarge the power of their charismatic leader and the solidarity of the movement. They view material progress primarily as a means for accumulating strength for political expansion, and entirely deny individual and social freedom. They champion the values and emotions of a heroic past, but repress all free critical analysis of either past roots or present problems.”
“Like fascism, neo-Islamic totalitarianism represents the institutionalization of struggle, tension, and violence. Unable to solve the basic public issues of modern life—intellectual and technological progress, the reconciliation of freedom and security, and peaceful relations among rival sovereignties—the movement is forced by its own logic and dynamics to pursue its vision through nihilistic terror, cunning, and passion. An efficient state administration is seen only as an additional powerful tool for controlling the community. The locus of power and the focus of devotion rest in the movement itself. Like fascist movements elsewhere, the movement is so organized as to make neo-Islamic totalitarianism the whole life of its members”.
This is the heritage that Ramadan is proud of, adheres to, and wishes to emulate. Halpern has delineated precisely the objectives of the Muslim Brotherhood, and thus those of Ramadan himself.
On November 20, 2003, in a televised debate with Nicolas Sarkozy who was then the Minister of the Interior, Ramadan was asked about his brother Hani who had justified the stoning to death of adulterous women. Instead of condemning the custom outright as barbaric, Ramadan replied, “I’m in favor of a moratorium so that they stop applying these sorts of punishments in the Muslim world. What’s important is for people’s way of thinking to evolve. What is needed is a pedagogical approach.” In other words, Ramadan wanted, as my dictionary entry on the word tells me, “a legally authorized postponement of the fulfillment of an obligation,” only a temporary ban on this inhumane and cruel punishment.
As for his brazen lies, just one out many examples given by Fourest will suffice.
The Swiss bank Al-Taqwa, founded by leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood, such as Youssef Nada, was closed down on December 31, 2001 because it was found to be a financial sponsor of terrorism, with links to Hamas, al-Qaeda, and the GIA in Algeria. Tariq Ramadan tells us, “We never had any sort of contact with the bank. The fact that our name appears in its address file doesn’t mean a thing…” This is hardly credible, is indeed a lie, since the Ramadans were well-acquainted with its chief administrator, beginning with its president-founder, Youssef Nada, one of Tariq Ramadan’s father’s best friends. But there is more: Said Ramadan, Tariq’s father, was one of the founders of al-Taqwa! It is no coincidence that other founders of al-Taqwa were active Nazi supporters of Hitler during World War II.
Does Tariq Ramadan condemn terrorism? Again with much ambiguity he claims that terrorists acts are justified “contextually.” Though Tariq Ramadan has always denied having had any contacts with terrorists in Europe, Jean-Claude Brisard, an international expert on terrorism financing, has documented Ramadan’s contacts with known terrorists, which include the following:
– A Spanish Police General Directorate memo dated 1999 stating that Ahmed Brahim (sentenced to 10 years in prison for incitement to terrorism in April 2006) maintained “regular contacts with important figures of radical Islam such as Tariq Ramadan.”
– The minutes of Djamel Beghal’s (sentenced to 10 years in prison in March 2005) first appearance testimony on October 1st, 2001 (following his indictment by a French antiterrorist judge for his participation to a foiled terrorist attack against the US Embassy in Paris), where he stated that before 1994, he “attended the courses given by Tarek Ramadan.” According to the final prosecution documents, during his first interrogation before UAE authorities who arrested him, Beghal stated on September 22, 2001, that “his religious engagement started in 1994” when “he was in charge of writing the statements of Tariq Ramadan.”
– A Swiss intelligence memo of 2001 stating that “brothers Hani and Tariq Ramadan coordinated a meeting held in 1991 in Geneva attended by Ayman Al Zawahiri and Omar Abdel Rahman,” respectively Al Qaeda leader and planner of the terrorist attack against the World Trade Center in 1993, and sentenced to life in the United States. 
Caroline Fourest has written a very important book, and rendered all of us who care to listen, an invaluable service. She demonstrates with great skill that Tariq Ramadan is a dangerous radical, who, far from modernizing Islam, is, in fact, Islamizing modernity. Of undoubted ability and charisma, but with no respect for or allegiance to Western values of liberty, or any of the five freedoms enshrined in the first amendment to the U.S. Constitution, Ramadan is poisoning the minds of young Muslims in the West. Far from wishing to integrate, these youths, under Ramadan’s influence, develop a hatred for Western values, and instead dream of creating a totalitarian Islamic theocracy in the heart, not only of Europe, but eventually the entire globe, until, in the words of Hassan al-Banna, “the Islamic banner…waves supreme over the human race.”
Ramadan’s double-speak is part of a carefully calibrated, long-term strategy of dissimulation, perfectly justified by the Islamic doctrine of taqiyya. But you cannot fool all of the people all of the time. Anthony Daniels asks, “Would you a buy second-hand car from Tariq Ramadan?” Caveat Emptor.
 Manfred Halpern. Politics of Social Change in the Middle East and North Africa Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1963, quoted at Martin Kramer’s Website: http://www.geocities.com/martinkramerorg/
 At Jean-Claude Brissard’s website:
http://jcb.blogs.com/jcb_blog/2006/09/tariq_ramadan_n.html, accessed 2 February, 2008.
The Polish translation of this article is here.
To comment on this article, please click here.